netmagInterview

Syd Lawrence on coding for fun

Syd Lawrence on his upcoming Generate talk, in which he will remind developers of the importance of having fun with coding

.net: What are you going to speak about at Generate?
Syd Lawrence: In this day and age with technology moving so stupidly quickly, we've got to keep on top of our game. We've got to constantly learn. In my opinion the best way to learn is by doing. I will basically try to convince all the ex-hobbyist developers to remember what their hobby is. At the same time as this, I will show some examples of where I've learnt something by doing. Hopefully people will come out of the talk thinking "You know what? I need to get back to having fun". If anyone does that, I will be happy.

.net: What do you think makes a good conference?
SL: A "good" conference. It depends what you want to achieve. Some conferences are all about the people, and the opportunities to meet so many people. Other conferences are all about the learning and knowledge sharing.

It's a bit like Malcolm Gladwell's TED talk, "the perfect pasta sauce". There is no perfect pasta sauce, just like there is no perfect conference.

Ultimately, it's all about the people. Meeting new/old friends. That's what really makes a good conference.

.net: What are you most looking forward to about attending Generate?
SL: Personally I'm really looking forward to exactly that, meeting new and old friends. There are a few people going that I've spoken to online, but never met "IRL".

.net: What projects are you working on right now?
SL: I'm working on an Android app that's going to used in a film. I can't tell you much about it, but apparently it will mean that I will get some kind of IMDB page :D. I think the app is only going to be used for a matter of seconds, so it's a bit mental. I'm also at the early stages of helping @xmjw organise "The Agency Cup", a competition for agencies to battle it out against each other [watch this space].

.net: What are you excited about at the moment?
SL: I'm really excited about August because in a few weeks I'm off to San Francisco. I've never been to the West Coast of America, so I'm quite looking forward to it. I've got quite a few friends out there now, so it should be a good time.

But aside from that, I'm obviously really excited about Generate ;D

.net: What are the factors that have driven the direction of your career so far?
SL: Oh wow, so know you want my life story! I'm pretty certain everything I've ever done has driven the direction of my career so far. But the one thing that has truly helped me along my way is other people. I owe a lot of other people for helping me out along the way. The best thing about people, is that we are all people. That might sound stupid, but we are all doing whatever it is we are doing to get to wherever it is we want to get to, and we all have our own agendas.

I wouldn't be doing what I am doing now if it weren't for my Dad encouraging me to code as a kid. "I wish you would stop playing games and do something more constructive with your time," he said, and he bought me a "computer game maker".

And along the way there are many other people who have given me a helping hand in one way or another, but you'll have to wait for my biography for that list ;). That's why I like working with Twilio, because we're helping out the little guy/gal.

.net: You've been described as a 'modern superhero', a 'prankster' and a 'wizard'. What does all this mean?
SL: Oh I've been called many things by many people - thanks for not mentioning the negative ones :D. I've got no idea what "all this" means, I'm just gonna continue doing what I do and people are welcome to their own opinions.

Use the discount code SL15 to get 15% off your Generate ticket

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